Empty Nest Design Makeover: Try These Four New Home Décor Ideas

You knew this time would come. A moment when your last baby left home and just you and the hubby remained. Rather than think about the silence in your home, dwell on all the decorating you can now do as an empty nester. It’s time to “give a room a new purpose and make it more livable,” said Alan Weiner, COO of Elegant Strand, a website that specializes in fine bedding products. “Consider converting unused guest rooms, into your home office, with a daybed or futon for when guests stay over.”

You have so many possibilities now—with your home décor and your life. It’s time for experimentation … and change. You’re going to love your new empty nest home. Here are four things you can do:

home office for empty nesters

 A new home office might be nice. Photo credit: Carmel Homes

Dedicate a room for your hobby or passion

Since you now have more free time on your hands, you can turn extra space—especially those empty bedroomsinto places to pursue me-time. “It could be your new music room, art room, gym or game room,” suggested Jack Miller, founder of How I Get Rid Of, a home improvement blog. “Now you’re freer to do whatever you want with it [your space].”

Be imaginative. “Combat boredom by converting unused spaces into new areas for playing or work,” said Mo Mulla, founder of Parental Questions, a parent tip and advice website. 

Find a space to make that library you always dreamed about or that souped-up home theatre. You can even look for places that never experienced home decorating before. Seek out those forgotten corners of the basement or laundry room. These can become comfortable reading nooks.

When re-decorating, consider what each new room needs. If you are creating a yoga space, for instance, removing carpet is ideal. It “gives too much and causes you to lose balance,” said Brenda Scott, a professional organizer at Tidy My Space. Instead, think about installing vinyl plank or hardwood flooring. A solid floor also works best for an office, she points out, “because the desk chair is usually on casters and rolls much easier than using a large office mat over carpet.”

Look outside your home, too, as you redecorate. “Transform that confined backyard from toddler area to pool party headquarters,” suggested Mulla. “The possibilities are endless and will only increase once your creativity kicks in.” 

Home theater, movie theater, empty nester renovation

How about creating that home theater you always wanted? Photo credit: Carmel Homes

Find special spaces to share with your spouse

Be imaginative with your empty rooms.It could be a mini restaurant for two to allow you home date nights with the wife,” said Miller. “Or it could be a home theater or speakeasy for you and the husband to enjoy. Now that it’ll only be you and the spouse spending most days at home, why not turn it into your very own haven, right?”

This is also a good time to opt for a more sophisticated look. Your first step is to de-clutter. Keeping everything your children ever made is a lovely sentiment, but it makes for terrible home décor. Choose a few items and store or toss the rest. If it makes you feel better, photograph the things that are going to the curb. A picture lasts forever, and then you can reclaim your space.

You can exchange some of that hand-painted artwork for paintings, lithographs or professional photography and highlight the new piece(s) in your living spaces by moving the furniture around or emphasizing it with lighting.

“Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a room as it sets the mood, changes the ambiance and can help define spaces like open plan kitchens,” said Richard Petrie, an interiors specialist at Thomas Sanderson, a window design company. Even little changes, like changing the color or style of your light bulb can make big differences, and give your room a new glow.

Ultimately, you want to reclaim your house. Have you always wanted custom upholstery and window treatments? What about that crown molding or that bath renovation (with a Jacuzzi tub, maybe?)? The time is now.

yoga retreat room makeover, empty nest decorating

A yoga studio for you and your friends might be nice.

Move furniture, accessories and centerpieces around

Your children and their friends might not frequent your house anymore—and you probably miss all that friendly chatter. What you rarely despair over these days, though, is all the things they broke during those gatherings.

Now that you have an empty nest, it’s time to bring out all that porcelain and colored glass you’ve kept in your curio cabinet. Move furniture around to emphasize other pieces. You no longer need to hide grandma’s antique rocker in the corner to protect it from congregating teens. Take everything out and enjoy it.

walk-in closet room makeover, empty nest decorating

Finally! Make that extra bedroom into a walk-in closet.

Get new bedding and accessories

Bring out that light-colored bedding. No more do you need to worry about sticky hands or children surreptitiously eating in your bedroom as they watch Netflix. Revamping “something as simple as bedding can bring new life and a design aesthetic to a room,” said Weiner. “From there you can slowly add decor pieces, pillows, and even drapes to match the tone you are going for, without having to do a complete overhaul of the room, all at once."

That’s right, change is good—but sometimes we want to do things slowly. So swap in new sheets and a comforter, and live with it for a while. Then when it seems right and you find other pieces you love, add them gradually. Then when your child visits from college or comes for the holidays, you can show off your new décor. 

Bohemian design, decorating for empty nesters

Art credit: Brenda Scott. All other photos from Pexels.

As you turn your empty nest into a decorator's showcase, you might want to refurbish your furniture or think about changing the color scheme. Our blog has all sorts of articles to help you on your redecorating journey.


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